Brownie Points As the Curtain Descends

Eddy Are You Kidding?

In an unmatched display of weblogging dexterity, I now propose to combine in a single post a discussion of a very fine recent musical release and a reference to a dubious landmark in the sartorial history of Los Angeles.  At home thou shouldst not try this.  Let us begin:

Rachel, of the mp3 weblog Scenestars, has seen fit to post links to two [entirely authorized and lawful] free mp3 files of songs from the debut album of A Girl Called Eddy, a phonographic recording that was easily near the head of my short list for favorite new music of 2004.

Eddy is the nom de pop for Erin Moran (no relation, so far as can be determined, to the other Erin Moran), a New Jersey singer-songwriter who recorded her debut album in England with the assistance of Pulp guitarist Richard Hawley.  Her music harks back explicitly to the Golden Age of Adult Popcraft of the mid- to late 1960's, the era of Burt Bacharach, Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazlewood, Dusty Springfield, and the like, but manages not to come off as mere imitation or pastiche.  You can get a sense of whether Eddy's particular musical sensibilities will jibe with your own by considering some of the "Heroes/Reasons for Living" she lists on her own site:

holy trinity: Richard Harris, Michael Caine, and Peter O’Toole/ . . .Gene Wilder as Willie Wonka/a nice glass of red . . ./ Prefab Sprout, and all the B’s - Leslie Bricusse, Burt Bacharach, the ‘blue’ note, The Blue Nile, Bjork, Beck, Brian Wilson, Lionel Bart, Bowie, Beatles, . . ./ glockenspiels!/ . . . Jimmy Webb/ . . . the other holy trinity: Chrissy Hinde, Dusty Springfield, and Karen Carpenter . . . .

My favorite track on the album -- "People Who Used to Dream About the Future" -- might have been the Big Number if, on some alternate Broadway, Company had been scored by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, rather than by Steven Sondheim.  That one's not available anywhere for download, but you can reach two tracks -- the wall-of-soundish "The Long Goodbye" and the album-closing "Golden" -- via Eddy's record label ANTI-, the wonderfully melancholy album opener "Tears All Over Town" via Eddy's site, and (with free registration) the non-album track "Under the Warm Sun" here.  Or you can just trust me on this one and buy the album for yourself here.

Now observe as I fearlessly offer up the promised bonus L.A.-centric content for those of you who weren't watching local television here in sunny soggy Southern California in the mid-70's:

You may be asking yourself: "What is up with the title of this post?  What does that mean?"  Fans of the late Frank Zappa will recognize our title phrase as coming from a song on the Mothers of Invention's 1972 Just Another Band from L.A. 

The song itself, with its invocation of double-knit polyester leisure suits and similar horrors, was inspired by Zachary All, a men's clothing store on the Miracle Mile of Los Angeles' Wilshire Boulevard, advertisements for which were essentially inescapable.  Those television spots all featured Eddie Nalbandian, ever ready to assure us of the wide range of styles and sizes and the diligent "staff of 60 tailors" awaiting viewers at his establishment.  Eddie can be seen sporting some of his establishment's finery in the photo accompanying this interview [PDF], a photo that tells you most everything you need or want to know. 

Still not satisfied?  Learn more in this 1994 story from the Los Angeles Business Journal, in which Eddie displays the kind of marketing genius that would serve him well on The Apprentice (no doubt he would be one of the contestants with "street smarts"):

And why did Nalbandian name his store Zachary All in the first place, those 38 years ago? "Well, I was going to name the store Clothing Co-Op, but a lawyer told us since we didn't give back a portion of the profits to customers, we couldn't do that.  So, I was sitting around, and I liked the actor Zachary Scott, but you can't just use someone's name.  So I said I liked the detergent 'All.'  You know, it does it all.  So I named the store Zachary All."

Amazingly, the Zachary All store continued in business nearly to the turn of the millennium; the building still stands [see grainy photo here] having been converted to a Walgreen's drugstore in 2002.

That's Zachary All, folks!


Christopher Vahan

My father could tell you more, but as I understand it, Eddy Nalbandian was nick named "Crazy Eddy" prior to moving from Boston to L.A. from where he brought the name of his small taylor's shop: "Zachary All" with him. My memories of him are some of my first, maybe from 1953 or 54 at 3 or 4 years old my mother would take us up old 101 to Los Angeles, past the rural row of giant eucalyptus trees which marked the where the farms and countryside ended, civilization reimmerged, maybe where Fullerton lies today? Ann and Eddy Nalbandian lived where Ann still does, maybe four blocks up the hill overlooking Hollywood. Even as an infant, the store was the first stop in the tour; followed by dinner at the Golden Goose (?)and on a special trip, a Greco/Armenian bazaar, where I won a ham for the family. Eddy loved kids, and would always get me on stage or table top to sing "Hello Young Lovers Wherever You Are.." I hear Crazy Eddy died a couple of weeks ago. What a guy; what a time to remember forever.

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