Thursday, April 19, 2018

Eileen: "The M.T.A. Song" Boston novelty sung in French



    Here’s something peculiar for you: a folk song about the Boston underground…sung in French. Why would the French care? And what could they make of a schmuck named Charlie who can’t simply get off a train? And what about his even more ridiculous wife, who throws him sandwiches when she could easily toss one with a few coins in it so he can pay the fare? 


    One of the lousy things about travel is that you generally have no idea how to get around. Unless you take a cab and don’t mind being stiffed all the time and driven the longest way possible, you’re stuck with mass transit. Most every city has its own infuriating rules. Coins allowed? NOT allowed? Do you have to wait on a line and get a TICKET? I haven't been in France in a while, but the last time, I recall some odd business about getting a pass with a photo ID on it. I don't remember if I used the pass itself or had to buy individual  tickets for every subway (metro) or bus ride.


    The gimmick with the Boston system at the time (and maybe even now) is fare zones. I haven't been in Boston in a long time. I do recall their "underground" as being pretty dinky. I think at least you could actually take an easy commute from Logan Airport into mid-town or even Cambridge.


      Still, a tourist is going to be wondering, "is that ticket good for getting on and off anywhere? Must I pay more the further along I go? If you’re just queer for trains, can you ride it all day back and forth, looking out the window or up the skirts of passengers? Should someone tell you not to look up the skirts of passengers if you’re in Scotland?

       In the song, poor Charlie didn’t anticipate a fare increase and was short a nickel. Har har. Did he ever return? No, he never returned, and his fate is still unlearned! 

    Will Holt was a nice man, and I enjoyed talking to him about some aspects of his career. I think he considered “The MTA Song” one of his lesser achievements. It was amusing that it became such a hit, but he put lyrics to better music (coming up with “Lemon Tree” for example) and this was just a novelty. He figured his enduring achievements were in the musicals he wrote for the stage. (Most of YOU know this thing and "Lemon Tree" most of all). The inspiration for this was a jingle blaring from a truck, being played in the streets to promote a local politician. Holt re-wrote it, recorded it…and it didn’t exactly reach the Top 10. The Kingston Trio covered it, and changed the name of the local politician to the fictional “George O’Brien.” The exuberant trio had a hit. 


    So why not see if it could roll in other countries, too? The singer here is EILEEN. She’s better known as a Nancy Sinatra impersonator (in France, at least) but she took on a variety of American tunes to Frenchify. An interesting thing about her is that she is proof that it’s who you know…but also if you know other languages. Eileen’s father Michael Goldsen founded Criterion Music. (Yeah, yeah, you wonder who losted it. Ha ha.) Born in New York, a language teacher in Los Angeles, she taught French, and was asked to translate some of the popular folk songs of the day into that language. 


    In 1963 the teacher journeyed to Paris, married over there, and managed to get a record deal offering her specialty of being able to sing perfectly in two languages, and knowing the cultures of both. She did both an English cover version of Nancy Sinatra songs and foreign language variations. Since she learned a bit about the music biz from her father, it’s not much of a surprise that after her brief days as a singing idol ended, she started her own music publishing firm, French Fried Music. She still lives in France. 

 
Hop aboard: Le M├ętro De Boston (M.T.A. The Boston Subway Song) download or listen online

DICKIE GOODMAN Boris Karloff Monster Mash into A HARD DAY’S NIGHT


    Dickie Goodman’s birthday is today (April 19, 1934) but he’s not around to make jokes about it. Let’s not dwell on his self-inflicted ending (November 6, 1989) . For many decades, he did his best to cheer up people with ridiculous “break-in” novelty singles and, now and then, peculiar “concept” albums that involved his own singing skills.

    One of the first artists to challenge copyright rules on “sampling,” Goodman and his then-partner Bill Buchanan offered up an indie single called “The Flying Saucer” in 1956, which, love it or detest it, involved using fragments of popular songs as punchlines. Goodman’s main schtick was the fake news interview, his voice a kind of Jewish version of Walter Winchell. 


    Billboard charged “The Flying Saucer” at #3 and while he would never get to #1, Goodman kept on going and going, with, eventually an entire set of Walter Winchell singles…all keyed to Winchell’s role as narrator of TV’s “The Untouchables.” These were: “The Touchables,” “The Touchables in Brooklyn” and “Santa and the Touchables,” which all landed in the Top 100. 


    Goodman did try to break away from sampling now and then.  “Russian Bandstand” was a “what if American Bandstand was broadcast in Communist Russia” notion, and issued as “Spencer and Spencer” with new partner Mickey Shorr). 


    One of his early non-break-in albums was “My Son the Joke.” Along with Stan Ross, who put out a similar album of Jewish novelty tunes, the idea was to grab off some of the sales Allan Sherman was enjoying. Figuring that sex sells, and that doity Jewish comedy (ala Belle Barth and Pearl Williams) would not be something Sherman would ever try, Dickie offered up songs on everything from menstruation (“Red River Sally”) to “Harry’s Jockstrap,” an overt twist on Sherman’s “Sarah Jackman.” 


    Below is “Balling my Zelda,” typical of that album. Dickie didn’t grab all the same public domain folk songs that Allan used. “Balling my Zelda” is of course based on “Waltzing Matilda,” which Sherman never quite got around to messing with. Allan’s “My Zelda” is based on the Harry Belafonte calypso hit “Matilda.” 


    Through the 60’s and 70’s, almost any hot news subject or movie got a cash-in tweak from Dickie Goodman. This included the Nixon slam “Watergrate,” a novelty single on the “Energy Crisis” and when the movie “Jaws” was a hit, there he was, doing “Mr. Jaws.” A few years later, out came “Kong,” keyed to a remake of “King Kong.” All of this stuff got into the Billboard Top 100 in the 70’s, and “Mr. Jaws” actually hit #4, his best showing in nearly 20 years.  


    Apparently in 1980 Dickie recorded “The Monster Album,” which was obviously ill-timed to any current trend. I would’ve thought he recorded it back in 1964, when it would’ve been a fairly fresh and commercial idea. That’s when the craze for monster comedy peaked. It grew with “Monster Rally” on RCA and “Spike Jones in Stereo” on Warners, led to Bobby “Boris" Pickett's huge hit “Monster Mash” for Garpax. Below, “A Hard Days Night” done with the Karloff narration style that made Bobby “Boris” Pickett a star. 


    Thanks to Rhino, which specialized in promoting a lot of offbeat novelty stuff, Goodman was finally off his indie labels (such as Wacko), and hoping for a return to glory. No, “Return of the Jedi Returns” in 1983 did not do it for him, and by 1987, he was back to financing his own singles and releasing “Safe Sex Report” via Goodname, which he thought was a good name. Debts and depression overcame him, age 55, and it just wasn’t very funny. 


    A few years later, and nostalgic Demento-types were hunting up every 45 rpm single on all his bizarre indie labels from Luniverse to Rainy Wednesday, with some 78's fetching big eBay bucks. CDs, authorized or not, began to offer cleaned up, good quality versions of those manic old break-in numbers. His son Jon was instrumental in pushing for Dickie’s fair share of fame and honors as a pioneer of novelty singles.  While much of what Dickie did is now dated, and most people don’t get all the break-in recognition humor references, there are still a lot of people out there who are in his groove. And they wish he was around to hear a heartfelt “Happy Birthday, you wacko.”


Hard Days Night - Karloff Style - download or listen online - no Zinfart passwords no misdrection links no Russian yaddiyadda

Allan Sherman going dirty? BALLING MY ZELDA

GENYA RAVAN's BIRTHDAY...Apr 19th - BIRD ON THE WIRE




Here's a little tribute the the lady with the big, big voice, born April 19, 1940. The great GENYA RAVAN. 

Ravan (pronounced "Raven") sounded like a "black bird," and her version of "Bird" starts softly, with a beautiful gospel touch, before rising into a crescendo of emotion. I told her I thought she was the real deal, and that Janis Joplin was just a "high wind." Genya did not choose to agree or disagree. She was, to paraphrase Dylan being a "diplomat." She kept mum and stroked her siamese cat. No, really. She had it on her shoulder for a while. Another was wandering around her apartment. 

If you want to know more about Genya's amazing life and times (and see pix from her men's magazine days) get her autobiography.
 
I've always believed Genya to be one of the greatest female vocalists of all time. Just listen to what she does with that BIRD ON THE WIRE. 

Bird on the Wire - listen on line or download

No capcha codes, no pop up ads, no moronic egocentric Zinfart passwords.

I Do The ROCK - get no Pulitzer Prize - birthday man TIM CURRY


    Here’s a live version of “I Do De Rock” from Tim Curry, born April 19, 1940. Back when he was touring in support of this song and others on his solo albums, he told me that he was very serious about having a career in rock. He wasn’t just trying to make a buck off his rock star cult status from “Rocky Horror.” He liked, appreciated and wanted to be a part of ROCK, more than movies. (PS, in person the mild-mannered fellow was nothing like Frank-N-Furter.) 

    Maybe he loved the rock too much; for many listeners his first album's tracks were a bewildering mix of rock and pop genres, including a strut (“Birds of a Feather”), a stomp (“Wake Nicodemus”), cabaret balladry (“Alan”), oldies bombast (“Anyone Who had a Heart”) and the obligatory Beatles cover (“I Will”). When he had the chance to trade on “Rocky Horror” he didn’t. His cover of “All I Want” (by Joni Mitchell) has a line, “bop till I drop in some jukebox dive.” That was his substitution for Joni’s original “rip my stockings in some jukebox dive.” That’s how much he did NOT want to carry over his crossdressing image...which probably disappointed the "Rocky" cult. 

 
    The next album, still hoping for a big rock audience, had some punchier rock, with Dick Wagner one of the co-producers. Alice Cooper could’ve sung some of the rock-angst-roll numbers (“Hide This Face” “Right on the Money”).  Tim had another Joni cover, rocking up “Cold Blue Steel,” and even a campy bit of comedy in “Charge It” (about trendy shopping).  As for “I Do The Rock,” it was reggae rock…with a dash of parody (one would assume...he co-wrote it). And he brought all this, and more, to his tours, but like everyone from Jim Carroll to Warren Zevon, he was a critics’ darling, seemed to have manic fans, but the cult was actually small. Small clubs, small sales. And soon he was back to making movies.  


    You do de rock…and you don’t always get de respect. Have you noticed that rockers get real stupid when talking about their art form? Maybe that's why classical and jazz have always been taken more seriously as an art form. Classical and jazz tend to appeal to people with expensive tastes, and you wear a suit to a concert and buy state-of-the-art stereo equipment. Rock? Not so much. Consider the truly moronic anthem “I Love Rock and Roll.” How about the dimwitted and jeering “I Know It’s ONLY Rock and Roll (But I Like It).” You can throw in witless song titles like “Rock and Roll Never Forgets.” Maybe this is why doing de rock NEVER got anyone a Pulitzer. Not The Beatles. Not Dylan. Not Paul Simon. Not Joni Mitchell. Not Leonard Cohen. NOBODY. 


    The Pultizer Prize for music, for the past 70 years, has ONLY been awarded to  CLASSICAL and JAZZ. Until a weird exception last week. 


    The irony is this: can any reasonable music lover name a worthwhile piece of classical music composed later than World War II? No. Prokofiev was the last gasp. Can anyone name a challenging piece of modern jazz that isn’t a discordant shit-mess? Miles was the last gasp, and nothing past the Vietnam War. So who was winning the Pulitzer Prize classical music honors from 1945 onward, with the spice of some jazz victories now and then? Go ahead and Google and you’ll find hideous classical from Roger Sessions and numbing jazz from Wynton Marsalis. You won’t find experimental works that you can stand for more than five minutes. 


    What about experimental works such as “Revolution #9” by The Beatles? What about those Frank Zappa albums which he orchestrated with fanatical care? You can be experimental…even unlistenable…in other categories besides CLASSICAL and JAZZ, can’t you? Not according to the Pulitzer Prize committee. But last week Kendrick Lamar could’ve sung, “I DO DE PULITZER.”


    Why this happened, who knows. Nobody dares to complain, either, the way they did when Bob Dylan got the Nobel Prize after 50 solid years of great, challenging, artistic music in many genres, and classic songs everyone knows and loves. “Damn” is the name of his album, and my reaction to his fucking Pulitzer. His brand of rap is being taken way too seriously, which certainly has to piss off Jay-Z and Kanye and even Cardi B. Sapristi, Roger Waters’ brown-shirts must be wondering, “What about THE WALL?” I mean, how obnoxious do you have to be before the Pulitzer people take notice? And let’s not ask why “Sgt. Pepper” or “Tommy” or various “classical rock” concoctions and hybrids 

(“Preservation Act I and 2” by The Kinks) never made it. I could add Jethro Tull’s discs but that would be living in the past. The fact is, the present belongs to some pretty bad music, and we can add Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Adele, Taylor Swift, Coldplay, and almost all of today’s “faves” to the stinking stew. But let’s return to our spicy bit of Curry. 

    “I Do The Rock” didn’t get nominated for a Grammy for “Best Comedy Performance,” and Curry’s stuff, when vinyl died and CD took over, barely made it to one “Best of” that was quickly remaindered. Do the ROCK, and you do not get de respect or de Pulitzer Prize. Funny, Lamar’s album might also be the FIRST Pulitzer Prize winning music you can actually find via piracy downloads for free. In this case, it’s worth every penny you spent. 

I Do the ROCK from the Bottom Line in NYC - no dopey passwords or "your Adobe is out of date download spyware" game

Monday, April 09, 2018

April 9, 2018 - TOM LEHRER is 90


What a surprise. TOM LEHRER was trending on TWITTER today...not because he died, but because it's his 90th birthday. 

Lehrer was a pioneer of "sick" comedy back in the early 50's, and his work is, happily, as disturbing now as it was then. And just as funny. A bit more disturbing is that there will not be another like him, and the odds of independent singers of ANY type having fame and success continues to shrink like the polar ice cap. 

Tom Lehrer had some places to play. He didn't pay to play. He was good, so he got some bookings. The audience was response was good. He decided to pay somebody to record his songs. He decided to pay somebody to press some albums. He sold his albums at his gigs and by mail. He got reviewed not by blogs, but by REAL columnists who mattered. When his albums sold out, he printed more, and then got a deal with Reprise. 

What's the alternative now? A budding Tom Lehrer tosses his files on Spotify and YouTube? He "networks" on Facebook with a million others? If he's "lucky" he makes a few pennies in royalties before self-entitled hipsters start giving away his work? When Tom Lehrer started, he didn't have self-entitled egotists and parasites copying his songs and either demanding "tip jar" payments or "nice comments" to give it away. ("Copyright remains with the artist. And, by the way, copyright IS copy WRONG. Har har. Pirates, if you LIKE it, buy it. Maybe. Nah.") Yeah, some gas bags, losers and senile fools like to pretend they're in show biz by giving shit away. They will never meet Lehrer, or any other performer, so they won't be in a position to say, "Hey, I am a real fan, I gave away all your music via Fuckheadshare! I got some nice comments, too! Owwww....."

An irony with Tom Lehrer is that he always had a day job, and he preferred teaching to performing. Not everybody is a natural ham, and Tom didn't even bother to put his picture on his album covers. He told me that after he got his laughs in nightclubs, and on a few TV shows, that was enough. Another factor was that his main interest was in parodying music genres. Eventually, he ran out of them. He destroyed folk, waltz, lullabye, tango, march, country, ragtime, etc. As The Beatles and rock became popular, he slipped into Academia and stayed there.

He had modest tastes and a professor's salary was fine. Besides, a professor gets a pension. How fortunate he wasn't like hundreds of others who thought, "I'll just keep singing and touring, and I'll always have my health, and always have royalties coming in for my music..."

Lured out of retirement once in a while, he recorded some whimsical stuff for Public Television (including "LY" and "Silent E" for the kiddies). He also recorded "Chanukah in Santa Monica" for his people, most of whom unaware of his Jewish heritage. He left the field to Weird Al who switched words on rock songs. Rock didn't interest Tom. In fact, he told me that folk rock wasn't interesting to him either. His parody "Folk Song Army" was, he said, aimed squarely at a certain folkie popular in 1965, named Phil Ochs. You might recall Tom's realist final line to that song: "Ready, Aim, Sing!" Maybe Phil would've been amused and even complimented, knowing it was he, not Dylan, that pissed Tom off the most!

Tom, like most everyone who has recorded, and actually been IN the business, is aware that just as songs don't really change the world, nobody can change the attitude of the dopey Dutch, the sleazy Swedes, the creepy Communists in Croatia and Russia, the jerks in Germany, the tiny-dicks in South America or the ladyboy fuckers in Asia who regularly throw entire discographies around by the torrent, offer goody bags on their blogs, and are happy Santas who want a "nice" comment or a "Paypal tip" for giving away music. Irony that it's not really the Americans or the Brits who give away the American and British music as much as the world's least hip people in the world's shittiest lamest countries. What can be said when "We like FREE" says it all. Fuck the record companies, record stores, music studios, artists and the dwindling venues, too. Stay home and download it ALL.

No, there's no discography of Lehrer here, no "sure, buddy, you got it" response to any "please upload every Tom Lehrer song, best regards." The question: what should be a sample for the uninitiated, or those who need a reminder? From the reminder, hopefully there will be the desire to actually buy the boxed set, or a few of the CDs that eBay sellers are now desperately pricing at only a few bucks. Tom was beyond having a good "batting average" on his records. He was more like an MMA fighter. Find his first 30 songs, and you can say he's maybe 24-4-2, with 24 ko's 4 ordinary draws, and maybe two clinkers. That's impressive.

 Unlike Weird Al, Tom Lehrer had a brilliant ability to mimic genres. His "Masochism Tango" is a great tango. His "Vatican Rag" is great ragtime. The lyrics were almost always delightedly evil. The best way to make fun of sentimental waltzes, love songs, college drinking songs etc. was to make the lyrics as sick as possible. And this was before Lenny Bruce. This was when sick humor was confined to some fringe magazines that often had girlie pix in them, and cartoons with captions like, "Drink your soup before it clots." Tom sang about boy scouts pimping their sisters, pigeons being poisoned in the park, and the comforts of "powdered happiness" courtesy of a dope peddler. His march song was for his cause: "Smut...and nothing but!" Equal to Cole Porter, Lehrer's rhymes were witty and unexpected ("try and hide" with "cyanide") and he'd drop classical and pop in-jokes into the melodies, too. So, which song...hmm....

Since it’s his 90th Birthday, he’d probably not say “HAPPY” birthday, and instead hope that when he goes, everyone else goes, too. Nuclear disaster is STILL on the table, after all. So down below, the choice is “We Will All Go Together When We Go,” which is an example of just about everything Tom Lehrer did so brilliantly. You'll hear an original melody AND clever rhymes (including some internals -- wait for "funeral" sneaking into "sooner or later..."). A true musician, he changes tempo (and works in a fine pun on "Down By the Old Mill Stream.") Most of all he's on target with his chosen weapon for the kill: brutal satire. 

Tom Lehrer





Well, Who Knows what "Diddy Wah Diddy" means? Peg Leg Sam?


Now that's the face of the blues, huh? Scarred up "Peg Leg Sam" also had one leg, which made him quite an authentic and colorful sight for the white musicologists who haunted small Southern towns trying to document the origins of rhythm and blues. 

Not quite as unlikely as Andrew McCrew, hobo Arthur Jackson (December 18, 1911 – October 27, 1977) survived his hobo railroad accident, and hobbled along, with humor and style, singing all kinds of tunes. Below is his take on "MR. DITTY WA DITTY." 

If you want to spend your time studying word origins, you'll find that "Diddy" in most slang dictionaries, is a variation on "Titty." You'll also find a cousin in "Diddly," which generally means nothing. Literally. "You don't mean diddly" is a popular term in the South where most people not only don't mean diddly, they don't mean diddly squat. Unless they're singing a ditty. 

If you feel like it, you can go way past Bo Diddley and his "Diddy Wa Diddy" (which he recorded in 1956 and credited to himself (as Elias Daniel) and co-writer Willie Dixon) to the old days of Fats Waller and his pal Andy Razaf. It was Razaf who wrote "That's What I Like About the South," which mentions a certain town:

“Did I tell you about the place called Doo Wah Ditty? It ain’t no town and it ain’t no city. It’s awful small, but awful pretty, that Doo Wah Ditty.”  Among those mystified by the lyrics was Jack Benny. When Phil Harris had a hit with “That’s What I Like About the South,” Jack got into a comic argument with Phil: “What is a Doo Wah Ditty? That’s all I ask!” Replied Phil: “Doo Wah Ditty is a town located in the southern part of the state at the foot of the Wah Doo Ditty Mountains and on the bank of the Ditty Wah Doo River…famous because it runs backwards.” 

Oh. But you can go backward even further. Arthur Blake (aka Blind Blake) recorded "Diddie Wah Diddie" in 1929: 

"There's a great big mystery
, and it sure is worrying me: 
this diddie wah diddie,
 this diddie wah diddie. 
I wish somebody would tell me what "diddie wah diddie" means.

Some little girl about four feet four:
"Go in, papa, and get me some more
...of your diddie wah diddie,
 your diddie wah diddie." 
I wish somebody would tell me what "diddie wah diddie" means...." 


It's likely most white people, especially the clueless Dutch and the Swedes, first heard the question sung by Leon Redbone. Leon is Dickran Gobalian, born in Cypress back on August 26, 1949.  Critics loved his cool way of wearing all white, quietly sitting with his legs crossed, and using a black singing voice. Especially if the alternative was listening to "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" (written by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, and turned into a white hot hit by Manfred Mann, after it was first recorded by The Exciters.) 

Whatever you think a Diddy might be (and Sean Combs switched to Puff Daddy and then to P. Diddy because he thought it was cool to P with his Diddy), you'll enjoy Peg Leg's authentic take. So take it: 

Mr. Ditty Wa Ditty listen online or download - no egocentric passwords, tip jar requests or jerky "Enjoy!" exhortations 
 

ILL-USTRATED SONGS #44 WHAT KIND OF SCENT IS THAT? R&B 78rpm


Cats, one of the most popular topics for raunchy blues numbers is a raunchy twat. 

The rather delicately phrased "What kind of scent is that" is sung here with a slow strum by Bo Carter. Poor Bo, he's home alone, and his lady comes home around midnight. His ears prick up, but not his prick:

"Now baby, what kind of scent is that? Baby, what kind of scent is that??" He can't sleep. He can only ask that question again and again. As Brother Greg (Dick Gregory) used to say, "You see, we all have problems." Or to put it mathematically, sometimes cooze=blooze. 

Bo Carter, aka Armenter Chatmon (June 30, 1893 – September 21, 1964), originally worked out of Mississippi, but later sang in Memphis. As is typical with "dirty R&B" cats, he usually sang about the cock, not the twat, using the usual euphemisms: "Banana in Your Fruit Basket" and"Please Warm My Wiener" and, on a sadder note, "My Pencil Won't Write No More."

There was a time when 78rpm "dirt" was confined to either "race" records found on obscure labels in the South, or some very "sophisticated" jazz numbers sold under the counter in urban record shops and in some nightclubs. Since some people don't even get what tuxedo-wearing fellows like Dwight Fiske were singing about, it's no surprise that you'll find many more CD compilations of THIS kind of thing...them raunchy R&B tunes that put it right in your lap.

SCENT by download...or you can just listen on line. No stupid passwords or Russian spyware/link service

ILL-USTRATED SONGS #43 "I CAN TELL BY THE WAY YOU SMELL" 78 rpm


Walter Davis (March 1, 1911-October 22, 1963) is singing this sad ol' blues tune: 

"You come in here walkin' just like a goose, look like somebody just turned you loose. Doin' something wrong. Doin' something wrong...(I can) tell by the way you smell." 

Do you suppose if a fan turns at 78rpm, it makes SOME women a bit mo' tol'able? 

Born in Mississippi, Walter Davis learned early on, Missouri loves company. It was in St. Louis that his career took off, and unlike some blues guys, he did work for a major label, cutting dozens and dozens of tracks of RCA Victor's Bluebird division. He recorded sad songs like "Tears Came Rollin' Down" and dirty songs where the tears came rollin' down for a very different reason. 

78's began to go out of fashion by the time Davis suffered a debilitating stroke in 1952. He found less strenuous work sitting behind a desk at a local hotel, checking out the people as they checked in. And if some guy turned up with a ho' well, he could probably tell by the way she smelled.  

Dat Twat Smell Like a Rat - listen online or download on the down low 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Yvonne Elliman - I DON’T KNOW HOW TO…NOT GET BUSTED


    You remember Yvonne Elliman. She sang “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” in “Jesus Christ Superstar” about 45 years ago. On April Fool’s Day (appropriately enough) the Black Jesus himself, JOHN LEGEND, will take the title role in a live broadcast of Andrew Lloyd Dwarf’s fabulous musical. White girl Sara Bareilles will be Mary Magdalene. Somehow, it's considered PC and a fantastic kick in the balls of Diversity to have a BLACK JESUS, but not a BLACK Mary Magdalene. Why dat, yo? If Jesus was really BLACK (and not Jewish…two very different noses), why do we think Mary Magdalene was a white whore? Oh well. Sara is happy re-writing history by declaring how great it is that a sex worker can be celebrated.  

    You probably were wondering whatever became of Yvonne. The answer is that she actually does a lot of touring and a lot of very nice charity work, since it's not that easy for somebody in her age bracket to get paying gigs. Maybe that's why she just couldn’t go flying out to a charity concert without flying on some drugs. She and her hubby were apparently so potted they  didn’t think there was a POSSIBILITY of getting busted. 


      Airport police found pot AND “crystal-like rocks and a glass pipe” in their belongings. Fortunately, this didn't happen in some totally insane country that might put somebody like her in the slammer for the rest of her life. It happened in Guam, and frankly, she could pass for being a Guaman. Guamish? Guacamole? Whatever...the happy news is she only got two weeks, which she can spend in a Hawaii detention center. Why, that’s almost a vacation. It probably also helped that the reason she was in Guam was to perform at a Catholic school benefit. 

    Since Andrew Lewd Weasel’s music is pretty awful, below is NOT anything from Jeez da Soopa Stah. Instead, you get something a little more rare and credible. It’s Yvonne singing the Blind Faith classic “Can’t Find My Way Home,” with backing from Eric Clapton’s band. At first, you’re hearing Yvonne on guitar and then you’re hearing, well, somebody or other in the band, but not E.C. Mr. Clapton just introduced her (he somehow couldn’t pronounce her name) and then wandered off...probably because HE knew how to get through an airport WITH his drugs.  The performance is from 1977. 


Can't Find My Way Home - listen online, download, no bullshit password, no Tip Jar, no Russians/Croatians etc with malware or desires to rip off the USA/UK

Buskers Blues - By God How the Money Does NOT Roll In




    Exactly ten years ago, somebody in the U.K. put out a 2 CD set of upcoming singers, wanna-be’s, MySpace hopefuls, buskers and denizens of the “pay to play” scene.  “37 Original Local Acts” were being “supported,” with a pressing apparently paid for by sponsors listed on the bottom of the booklet, including Courier, Certus and The Chapel. 

    Obviously, nothing happened. I was tempted to check all 37 to see how many still had the website they bought, or moved on to have an active Facebook or Twitter account. I did notice that the websites listed for the producer and for the project are long gone. Have you heard OF or heard any tunes by these 37, who were professional enough, and far enough in their pay-to-play gig and self-pressed albums to get the attention of this producer? 




    You know me. I have always been one to flip through the bargain bins, buy the samplers, and look for something to play beyond AC/DC or Celine Dion. Out of somewhat morbid curiosity, I grabbed this obscurity and actually began playing the Yeah, most of them didn’t last 10 or 20 seconds, but it was a lot more fun and exciting than listening to "Marrakesh Express." Decent singers, competent guitarists, the newcomers mostly were still imitating Cobain, Patti Smith, Waits, Sarah McLachlan or whoever got them into music. Like thousands of others, they gave up. A few, too soon.  


    Among the artists who chose the “write what you know about” route, is the guy below, Leeves. Unlike some of the others who chose to write about being sensitive, hurt, alienated or worth pity, he offered a kind of punky, realistic take on busking. In 2007 it was not helpful to be another Dury or Johnny Rotten or whoever he was trying to be, but you might be momentarily taken with “Buskers Blues.” Right; people don’t stop and listen. Even, to paraphrase Joni,  you’re "playin’ real good for free." Freeeeeee. And don't we think the music should beeee freeeee!


    TEN years ago, a bargain 2 CD sampler set of music was considered a possible “new paradigm” in getting young talent heard. Nah. Now the idea is to somehow pay a company to stick your stuff on Spotify for you, or to put your D.I.Y. shit on YouTube and hope that somebody finds you amid the Taylor Swift covers and the zillions of catchy-title tunes that people reject in favor of "Top Ten UFC KO's."  


    Once in a while a surviving record label pushes a new artist and pushes and pushes. You're told this idiot with a strange wig on, this sound-alike rapper, this bullshitting pretentious singer-songwriter, is the real deal. “Saturday Night Live” interrupts the comedy for this crap and you think, “Oh, this is somebody I’m supposed to like,” and then mute the sound. 


      It’s human nature to a) want something for nothing and b) resist anything new. This means people don't buy, and are more inclined to go to a forum and cry, "Anyone got EVERY Dan Fogelberg in FLAC? My 4 TB drive isn't quite full yet. Best regards. We love music!" Hey, Dan's a millionaire, record companies suck, and there are plenty more rationalizations where that came from. Meanwhile the 20-somethings don't bring us new and interesting things like Dylan once did, and the 60-somethings who followed Bob don't get record deals either, and are lucky to get an invitation to an oldies cruise or a few outdoor concerts in the summer. They consider it a Strawb of luck — er, a stroke of luck — if they can send out music on some Curved Air to a crowd of a few hundred sitting on their Pratts. 

    Michael Moore said recently that the best way to break through is to be totally originally. If there are 300 MILLION people in America, and only 1 in 300 like your stuff, you still can become a millionaire if they buy. IF they buy. IF they know what you did. "I Know What You Did Last Summer" is the title of a film, not followed by, "...and I'm so glad it just got released and I've bought it." 

    And so it is, that 37 artists thought, “Well, I gave ‘em my best song, and it's on this compilation, and I'll get somewhere." Ten years ago. And now? One of 'em does get his song on this blog! I did check to see what this guy might be up to. A quick Google indicated he may have put out some self-pressed albums to sell while busking, and he may have had a band that played somewhere once in a while before breaking up, and who knows, he may still be around, but more likely he's on Linked-In hoping to get a day job far removed from the music world. 




    People will still buy guitars. They will still try to master Garage Band. They will still try and write and record a song and try to get it to Spotify or iTunes with a hope and a prayer. Yes, where they are allowed, there are still buskers, competing with motorcycle noises and passing trucks and screaming brats and barking dogs and prattling twats on cell phones. They will sing the blues. Here's Buskers Blues...


Buskers Blues - no stupid egocentric passwords, no malware, no Russian websites

Monday, March 19, 2018

Happy Birthday, Phyllis Newman



Lift up your hearts, and wish a Happy Birthday to PHYLLIS NEWMAN, born on this date in 1933.

You know Phyllis Newman? Then you probably saw her on Broadway in "The Apple Tree," "On the Town," or "Prisoner of Second Avenue."

Maybe you remember her ebullient presence on otherwise slow-moving TV quiz shows such as "To Tell the Truth" and "What's My Line."

Did you know Phyllis Newman beat Barbra Streisand for a Tony Award? Do you care? Well, it's true. Newman's star turn in "I Can Get it For You Wholesale" was hot stuff way back when...back when the radio played songs your mother (or grandmother) would know.

The woman who was married to Adolph Green *Betty Comden was his writing partner, not his wife) sang satiric songs on "That Was the Week That Was," played a Russian spy on "Amos Burke Secret Agent," and capped the 70's with a one-woman show, "Madwoman of Central Park West," In the 80's she did appear on some soap operas and in films, though her main interest was and is theater charity work, notably "The Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative." Talk about women's health...Newman's autobiography mainly chronicles the harrowing physical and emotional problems that came with cancer treatment and a double mastectomy. Unlike some "uplifting" tomes, this one's frank, factual, and pretty depressing, even if the "happy ending" is that she did come back and return to performing.

Like many actresses in Broadway musicals of her era, including Chita Rivera, Georgia Brown and Angela Lansbury, Phyllis Newman was on original cast album vinyl but rarely given a real shot at solo recordings. That field was dominated by the likes of Peggy Lee, Rosemary Clooney and the rest of the nightclub professionals. Still, when she did get a chance in front of a studio microphone to make an album or single, she didn't disappoint. Songs such as "Clouds" or "Those Were the Days" or "Your Mother Should Know" were easily within her range of both key and credibility.  

"Your Mother Should Know." Like "I'm Henry the 8th" the second verse is same as the first...

PHYLLIS NEWMAN Your Mother Should Know

BUCK OWENS ACTS NATURALLY IN COVERING BOB DYLAN


    Mainstream music fans might only know of Buck Owens through The Beatles and “Act Naturally.” The song was a big country chart hit for Buck, but brought in mammoth bucks when Ringo Starr covered it.  Ringo’s early solo album “Beaucoups of Blues” surprised many fans by focusing mostly on his love of country. Meanwhile, country artists tried to find ways to cross over and make some money without alienating their hardcore fans.

    Buck probably didn’t make many bucks when he decided to do an album featuring a variety of contemporary rock hits. (Only Glen Campbell seemed to find the right formula, covering Jimmy Webb). Even if it had his fans scratching their heads and the back of their overalls, Owens put his unique Bakersfield country spin on “I am a Rock,” "Homeward Bound," and the title S&G track, “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

  
     On the "Bridge Over Troubled Water" album Buck also covered one of Dylan’s best ballads, even if it had a lot of typical Bob wordplay and confusing images ("My love laughs like the flowers, valentines can't buy her.")  

      When people do cover versions, especially back then, sometimes the lyric sheet gets something wrong, or the artist does. A classic example is Richard Harris who kept singing "MacArthur's Park" when it was "MacArthur Park." Here, Buck seems to veer now and then. 

       Is that “without ideals of violence” instead of “without ideals or violence?”
Is that “my love laughs like a flower” not “my love she laughs like the flowers?”
Is he “in a cell” with other horsemen and not “in ceremonies of the horsemen?”
Owens could have really altered a few lines, which may have made his good ol’ boys happier. How about: “My love she’s like a raven at my window with a broken wing…sorry I accidentally shot her when I was hunting.”


No Limit...download it again and again. Listen on line. No passwords, wait time or Paypal tip jar greed

GLEN CAMPBELL TWANGS BOB DYLAN

    Most folks only know that Glen Campbell sang a lot of Jimmy Webb songs. He began his career as one of the most versatile of session men, and when he began making records, a lot of his stuff was instrumental. 

     You might want to check out some of those early (1965) albums he made, and discover some challenging or at least unusual twanging. (Just go into a forum or shoutbox and say "Anybody got...I want...I want...I am saving my money for beer and chips. Best regards.") Glen covered everything from the “Dr No” James Bond theme to “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” which turns into a pretty homesick country tune that’s akin (and kin) to the talkin' blues tradition, but minus the vocals that made it early urban rap. 

Subterranean Homesick Guitar Picking - instant downloads, no stupid passwords, no waiting or spyware links

Friday, March 09, 2018

MEIN LIEBLING MEIN ROSE


    “Mein liebling mein rose…you’re right. It is a rather brutal language…”

    The greatest villain in an episode of “The Avengers” was Max Prendergast, he of the hard lumpy face and insinuating leer. He was played by Peter Jeffrey, a remarkably versatile actor who, in a previous episode, played the exact opposite of Max…an ineffectual mild-mannered Brit.  


    The episode, “The Joker,” is a masterpiece, easily as good as any Hammer horror film of that era, and in fact, most any suspense film. In another age, it would’ve been a B-movie playing on the double bill with another hour-long effort. Great care went into this one, to the point of actually recording a creepy German-language tune to be played “over and over…over and over…”  


    The song was so compelling, people began asking for it in record stores (you remember them…where people bought music). “What do you MEAN you don’t have it? Can’t you import it? What do you MEAN there’s no such record label? Next thing you’ll be telling me is that there’s no Carl Schmidt! 




    No. "Deutsche Phon" is not the same as "Deutsche Grammophon" and there actually is no Carl Schmidt. 

    Demand for the song was so great that a single was released (in July of 1967 on the Columbia label in the UK. The flip side was "Blue Danube.")

      Carl Schmidt was Mike Sammes, who fronted a fleet of singers (similar to the American groups such as the Anita Kerr Singers and Ray Conniff Singers).  They made many albums and backed many recording artists. The music was by Laurie Johnson (who wrote “The Avengers” theme song). The lyric was by scriptwriter-genius Brian Clemens, and it was translated into German by Leo Birnbaum. Those who are fluent in German sadly insist that the song title should be “Mein Liebling Meine Rose,” but that’s a minor morose. 

Mein Liebling Mein Rose - the melody has not lost its sweetness

SHLAF’ MEIN LIEBLING! On HOMOCORD


    The somewhat fruity vocal by Luigi (real first name Ludwig) Bernauer might suggest his “leibling” is a man. After all, the label is HOMOCORD. But…

    …who knows. The man is long dead (October 1, 1899-January 11, 1945), and so is his record label. “Homo” after all, originally meant “Man” as in “Homo Erectus” (man with a hardon) and “Homo Sapien” (man spurting semen). Hermann Eisner’s new label Homophon arrived in 1904. Apparently it was deemed too close to the famous Zonophon label, and ultimately all shellac was issued under the new Homocord name. This fox trot has a very nice arrangement with contributions from a tinkling pianist and an oboesexual.


    Bernauer was a popular singer in cabaret shows, and also made several films that are beloved to this day: “Der Konig von Paris” (1930: aka “The French Cunt”),  “Leibling der Gotter” (1930: aka “Slut of the Street”) and “”Kopfuber ins Gluck” (1931: aka “The Headfucker who Drowned”). “Shlaf’ Mein Leibling” loosely translates as “Goodnight, My Love,” although Leibling can be translated as sweetheart or darling as well, depending on how many German marks you give her. German marks, of course, mean whip welts.


LUIGI BERNAUER burns 3 Minutes - instant download or listen on line no Rancidgator $$ demands, no Paypal "Tip Jar" hypocrite shit

LESLEY GORE - LITTLE LITTLE LIEBLING

    Back in the day, many artists tried to get some extra royalties by going into the studio with the backing track of a hit song, and recording a translation in French, Italian or German. Phonetic talent was required, and Petula Clark, Gene Pitney and Roy Orbison were very good at it. And so was Lesley Gore. 

    Nobody is quite sure why “Little” was not translated when she sang “Little Little Liebling.” She could easily have sung “Wenig Wenig Leibling.” This was in the 60’s, well before the CEO of eBay became Devin Wenig, aka “Little Devil.” You know Wenig? He’s one of the Internet Fascists who actively try prevent anyone from protesting against illegal activity on a thriving website that just happens to break copyright or....make money via theft, fraud, child pornography, hacking, huckstering, and hatred. To Wenig and fiends, it's all “freedom of speech.” 


    Use your imagination and think Lesley is singing “Wenig Wenig Liebling.”  Also ignore that the Germans wrote her first name “Leslie.” If you enjoy this song, check your local record store or eBay seller for others…and then go to a shoutbox or forum and say, “Please, I am poor, I'd rather spend my money on beer and chips, BUT I absolutely MUST have Leslie Gore in German. Best regards. Thanks in advance. Thanks to the original uploader. God Bless Russian servers and Vladimir Putin. Cheers!” The songs to look for include: “Nur gu Ganz Allein” (I don’t Want a Gangbang), “Hab’ ich das Verdient” (“My Face is Green”), “Sieben Girls” (“Groupies for a Kansas City Athletics First Baseman”) and “Musikant” (“Pussyfart.”) 

  
Leslie (Lesley) Gore - Instant Download or Listen on Line - no egocentric Zinfart password, no Russian spyware, no wait time

Monday, February 19, 2018

Black Eyed Peas FERGIE - shell shocks crowd with awful NATIONAL ANTHEM



Fergie? She's still around? 

That's probably the reaction when the Black Eyed Peas singer, glammed up in a black cocktail dress, wiggled forward to sing the National Anthem at the NBA All-Star Game.

She might as well have offered "Let's Get Retarded In Here." 

To the delight of bad-music fans everywhere, Fergie offered a typically disrespectful version intended to show off her voice and not her patriotism. 

She managed to do it in an extra-shrill way (think Judy Garland with a live rat up her cunt) and with a novel twist on fuckifying the lyrics ("Bah-ah-ner-er yeh-yeh-twave"). It's that moment pictured above, which led one of the players to switch from aghast to a giggle.

The staid Associated Press allowed that her song "wasn't particularly well received...her tempo, musical accompaniment and sexy delivery were not exactly typical for a sporting event or a patriotic song."

Others were a bit more colorful. George H.W. Bush, sitting in his wheelchair, grumped that it was "disgraceful." Roseanne Barr, who screamed a version of the anthem far outside her vocal range, and added insult by mimicking the way ballplayers spit, tweeted, "I think mine was better lowkey." Charles Barkley said, “Damn right it was different! I needed a cigarette after that.” Comedian Bob Saget explained: "Fergie’s rendition of the National Anthem was originally written by Francis Scott Out of Key."

To give you an idea of how bewilderingly bad it was, a Kardashian (Khloe, who is currently taking it up the ass and sucking the cock of a Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player named Tristan Thompson) tweeted: “This All Star opening is confusing me. WTF is going on? Anyone?”

You'd think some players would've taken a knee, just out of the pain of listening to Fergie, but they heroically stayed on their feet. 

Hear it for yourself. 

Fergie Fucks up the Star Spangled Banner

THESE THINGS TOO SHALL PASS AWAY - TOM RAPP


    No, the sorrowful, haunted and lispy moan that was Tom Rapp’s singing was not going to make him a star. Titling his group “Pearls Before Swine,” with the implication that they were singing great music for an audience of pigs, probably didn’t help either. Still, he held a niche for listeners who wanted their "transcendental rock" a little dark than George Harrison and sensitive ballads a little grimmer than Paul Simon. 

    On the title track to “These Things Too,” Rapp offered up his version of a phrase George couched with some degree of optimism as “All Things Must Pass.” Here, a Persian king gathers his wise men to find something “he could say on every occasion that always would be so.” Acknowledging “illusions, circles and changes,” the wise men come up with “these things too shall pass away.” 

    If Paul Simon was Mr. Alienation, what was Tom Rapp? On the same album, he sang, “When I was a child I lived all alone,  all my trials I bore them alone. Sometimes I would smile but often I’d grieve; growing up was learning to disbelieve.” Paul couldn't match such collegiate phrases as: “a saint in the evening, a leper at dawn,” or describe the Escher angst pf being “lost on mobius street,” a line on “If You Don’t Want To I Don’t Mind.” 

    My favorite Pearls Before Swine song, which I played on my radio show late at night, was “The Jeweler.” Well suited to Rapp’s damaged vocal powers, this is a sympathetic look at an old man who tries to find a place in this world polishing old coins. (“He knows the use of ashes. He worships God with ashes.”) Unlike Paul Simon’s boxer, the old jeweler has different scars. Working late into the night “both his hands will blister badly. They will often open painfully and the blood flows from his hands…he sometimes cries…” 

    Undergrads and intellectuals probably stowed their Pearls Before Swine albums on that same shelf as W.H. Auden books (Rapp set one Auden poem to music), or art books filled with the agonies of Bosch (yes, Pearls Before Swine used Bosch artwork on “One Nation Underground,” their 1967 debut album on the indie E.S.P. label, which never paid Tom a royalty or advance.

    Thomas Dale Rapp (March 8, 1947-February 11, 2018) was born in North Dakota, but also spent some early years in Minnesota, and then Florida. Just another folkie in New York, he submitted a demo tape to E.S.P. and he got a two-record deal. And just as E.S.P.’s star group The Fugs signed to Warner/Reprise, so did Pearls Before Swine, eventually. 

      What was "acceptable" in music had begun to change in the late 60's and early 70's, especially thanks to the imperfect vocals of Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Leonard Cohen. Still, reviewers could be hostile. A 1971 Stereo Review critic:

    “At first I thought this junk must be somebody’s idea of a sick joke…unfortunately the mournful wailing contained on this disc is really the way Tom Rapp sounds. He is also the composer-lyricist of eight of the easily forgettable songs I suffered through here…Although Rapp swallows most of his words like lumps, I was occasionally able to hear such scintillating lines as “What does a raindrop know?” or “My talking was only words, my smile was only teeth.” Third-grade doodling…Tom Rapp is a horrendously vulgar no-talent whose very presence on records gives me pause about the rock-bottom tastes and motives of the talent scouts at Reprise Records.”

    Worse than a lack of sympathy for his work was a lack of money. Even in what some consider the “golden era” of music, when hundreds of albums were being issued and FM radio was booming, not every act was making millions, or even breaking even on the road. How many records could anyone afford to buy? Around the same time, even Genesis, fronted by Peter Gabriel, came home broke. After a few solo albums, Rapp found a day job, working behind the popcorn counter at a movie theater. “I knew at the end of the week, every single week, I would get $85,” Rapp recalled. “I was insane with joy.”

    The insane world of acid folk and sensitive rock was left behind for twenty years. Tom went back to college and earned a degree, eventually working on discrimination cases for a Philadelphia law firm. He later moved to Florida. He was married three times. Around 1996, he was persuaded to make some appearances in local clubs. At a gig at NYC’s Knitting Factory in 1997, he explained his long absence: “I got into a 12-step program for reclusivity.”

    To the surprise and delight of his small circle of friends, a new Tom Rapp album appeared in 1999, titled “A Journal of the Plague Year,” which in style wasn’t very different from what he’d done for E.S.P. a generation earlier. It was on an obscure label and Rapp kept his day job.


The Jeweler (The Use of Ashes) - Pearls Before Swine

Sweet Home Alabama - doo-too ba doo-doo Princeton Roaring 20 a capella


When you think of Lynyrd Skynyrd, you don't get an image of fresh-faced Princeton students in L.L. Bean clothing making gay carousel noises: boop boop dooba doobee boop. But that's a capella conceit for you. As they say, it's so outrageous and obnoxious, it's almost amusing. 

Followers of the blog know that periodically I post examples of college twits, poofs and whiffens who think their dulcet voices require no drums, brass or strings. The glory of the human voice is enough. They think. 

A cappella is a tradition that goes back to a mother crooning a lullaby to her baby, or monks performing Gregorian chants on each other. One of the few successful hit songs in the genre was "The Tiger Rag" by The Mills Brothers, who mimicked musical instruments while harmonizing. Mostly a cappella is a scary exercise in egotism and pretention.


    Your example below is, yes, “Sweet Home Alabama” dampened by rich Princeton wet noodles wet-nursing the rhythm with “dooba doo” noises, and vocals that exchange Cracker Barrell cheese drawling for Brie breathing. Bandwidth being what it is, you don’t get their lame takes on Seal, Wham, 3 Doors Down, Fountains of Wayne etc. You don’t get their less egregious sins, such as buttering songs by creampuffs such as Dido, Eric Carmen or Sarah MacLachlan.  


    If you want to look for the CD, it’s called “Beginning to see the Light” (a metaphor that doesn’t really apply to hearing a capella), produced by The Princeton Roaring 20 circa 2005. “Special thanks to our families and our friends, our amazing alumni for all their support.” Their audiences probably consisted entirely of their families, friends, and indulgent alumni. Strange things come out of the orifaces of humans. Yabba dabaa do.



SWEET HOME ALABAMA as you have NEVER heard it before - Listen online or download. No ego passwords, no Russian spyware server

Marty Allen - LAST OF THE SECRET AGENTS & SILLY COMICS - Nancy Sinatra

Nancy Sinatra, who sings the theme song and appears in "Last of the Secret Agents," says it's "My favorite of my movies because it's zany and silly and goofy. Mary Allen and Steve Rossi were really one of the funniest comedy teams of the time." 

    Marty Allen, who died a few days ago at 95, wasn’t “The Last of the Secret Agents,” (maybe Mike Myers as "Austin Powers" will be), but he was probably the last of the corny, harmless, family-oriented comedians. It was rooted in a childlike sense of fun; he'd say "the darndest things" for a quick laugh. Filling the nightclub gap left by Martin and Lewis, the goofy comic and his Italian singer/partner Steve Rossi had a simple gimmick: interview Marty and let him say just about anything. 

     "Hello Dere" (his happy catch-phrase) was a gold album in 1962, and loaded with "lay it in their laps" gags. "Hello dere, my name is Christopher Columbus." "Where were you born?" "On Columbus Day!" "What are you famous for?" "I'm a great lover!" "What do you mean by that?" "Ever hear of the nights of Columbus?" "Who did you make love to?" "Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria." "Those are ships." "It wasn't easy."

    As dopey as it may seem, adults were paying to drink and smoke and listen to that stuff. It seemed like kid-oriented comedy albums to me. I had all the albums by this new generation of comedy teams which included Rowan and Martin,  The Smothers Brothers, and with various straight men, Bill Dana as Jose Jimenez. 


      Comedy mirrors its times, and audiences no longer wanted sharp, bitter “sick” humor ala Mort Sahl, Shelley Berman and Lenny Bruce. Marty and Steve were welcomed (along with Stiller and Meara) on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” and right into his 90's Marty never lacked for people asking him what was it like to be on the show that introduced The Beatles to America. It was a big selling point for his self-published book. 

    One thing nightclub comedy teams couldn’t seem to do was transfer to film. It didn’t work for Noonan and Marshall (who made “The Rookie” co-starring Julie Newmar) or Rowan and Martin (who made “The Maltese Bippy” co-starring Julie Newmar.) Allen & Rossi tried to cash in on the secret agent craze (without co-starring Julie Newmar, but with Nancy Sinatra). It was a little too silly and a little too late. (“Get Smart” had been running on TV for several years. Why pay for more?) Still, there are those who remember it with fondness (like Nancy Sinatra). 


    When the team split, Marty found plenty of work as an actor and as a wiseguy on the quiz show “The Hollywood Squares.” When Steve Rossi couldn’t do much with other partners (black Slappy White, aging Joe E. Ross, and even a Marty look-alike, Bernie Allen), the team reunited. They played Vegas-friendly venues, with Marty’s wife doing some singing as well. When Steve slowed down, Marty and his wife Karon kept right on going. Last Christmas, he told his fans on Facebook that his broken hip was nothing serious and that rehab was not going to take too long. But to borrow a line from the cynical comedian Brother Theodore, the bad hospitals let you die and the good hospitals kill you. Marty passed away at 95, from pneumonia. He was the last of the comedians from a golden age of silly. 


Nancy Sinatra - Last of the Secret Agents - listen online or download. No egocentric password, no Bulgarian/Croatian spyware

KICK BACK (and don't kill yourself) CHI COLTRANE


    Below, “Kick Back,” performed by Chi Coltrane live. “Live” is the operative word, since many people struggle with negativity and depression, and it can get the better of them:

    “What I’m saying in the song is kick back when times get rough. There's bound to be some good days and bound to be some bad ones...If things start getting you down sometimes, don’t throw your life away. Throw away the things that get you down, but never, never throw your life away.” 


    This is generally good advice, unless you can't throw away the things that are getting you down...like a terminal illness, for example. Keith Emerson shot himself in the head on March 11, 2016, at the age of 71. He didn’t end it all back in 1993 when he had a spate of bad luck: a strange form of arthritis that was impeding his ability to play, a messy divorce, a fire that burned his home, and financial woes. In 2016, he didn't see the number of good days outweighing the bad.  


    A year earlier, June 7, 2012, Bob Welch killed himself. The singer of “Hot Love, Cold World,” was disturbed in 1998 when his contributions to Fleetwood Mac were snubbed and he didn’t get an invite into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He didn't let it get him down. What he couldn’t deal with was the misery of post-spinal surgery. The physical pain was too much, and it’s possible that the fog of his pain medication, or its failure, led him to go out with a bullet.


    Vic Chesnutt, who left behind many albums, including a good cover of a Phil Ochs song (“The Scorpion Departs But Never Returns”), was paralyzed in a car accident at age 18. He couldn't "throw away" what got him down, but with a wheelchair and optimism, he became a fine entertainer. By age 45, he had enough of the misery of touring, and the limitations he suffered, He overdosed on muscle relaxants, December 25, 2009. The date he chose reflected his utter hopelessness, lack of religion and depression. 


    If these guys were Chi Coltrane fans, and heard her advice, maybe things would've been different. Or perhaps they’d already listened to a “Pearls Before Swine” song with the lines, “These Things Too Shall Pass Away.”


KICK BACK - listen online or download - no dopey Zinfart passwords or Russian spyware server

Friday, February 09, 2018

ILL-USTRATED SONGS #42 - CELERY STALKS AT MIDNIGHT


Are you like me? Have you enjoyed going to record stores and thrift shops and pawed through 45's and 78's just looking for songs with oddball titles? 

Sometimes the result is SO delightful! Sometimes, er, the music doesn't quite live up to the intriguing title of the song. 

Saving you a fiverrrr, or more likely a nickel, your download below offers a very ordinary big band fox trot called "Celery Stalks at Midnight," with a soporific vocal from Doris Day. No, there's no vivid lyrics about being stalked by a celery, or having a bad dream that started out in a barnyard at sundown (and everybody scared me, and you scared me the most).

Will Bradley’s 1940 original, co-written with George Harris, at least had some kind of weird punchline. After the familiar "Jeepers Creepers" melody wore out its welcome, a band member (probably wiseass drummer Ray McKinley) shouts "Celery stalks along the highway!!" Which almost saves the song. Almost.

My semi-educated guess on this novelty-dance item, is that Will was influenced by the spate of comedy-horror movies popular in theaters, as well as "Inner Sanctum," "Murder at Midnight" and "Lights Out" radio stuff. The latter show scared people one night with the story of a chicken heart that began to grow in a lab and take over an entire city. So why couldn't celery start stalking?

With films, radio shows and mystery books about mad criminals stalking women...how about "Celery Stalks at Midnight?" How about if people back then felt like buying a new single, and simply browsed the new releases looking for an interesting title?

 Ah say, Celery! Stalks! Get it? That's a thigh-slapper, son! I keep tossin' em and you just side-step 'em! (Senator Claghorn anyone?) 

Fast forward 27 years, and we had "The Eggplant That Ate Chicago," which was just as un-amusing when I found it in some bargain bin or other. There's a sucker born every minute when it comes to glancing at a song title and needing to hear it.

It was only ONE year after the Bradley original that Carl Sigman added some insipid (but how tasty is celery) lyrics so that Doris Day could cover the tune. Then as now, how many people really listened to the words anyway? 

No, Doris was NOT singing hilarious lines about a nightmare she had after eating too much celery, or sitting on a stalk. She does offer a very swingin' Ella-type vocal here, as she glosses over the possibility of some kind of nightmare or witchcraft.

The post is really just an excuse to post a photo and, finally, after all these years, offer a backing track from Les Brown. After all, this is the self-proclaimed "blog of less renown." Here you can hear...Les Brown and The Band of Renown backing Doris...and her celery...

 Celery Celery Celery! Sapristi! Download or listen online. No "your adobe is out of date" conjobs, no spyway, no Zinfart password nonsense

Faron Young - "He Stopped Loving Her Today" Start Tasting C&W


I recall some nice times with the guys from Dr. Hook, and one thing about their hit Columbia albums, was that they mixed rock, blues, novelty, oldies and country. The record label wasn't too happy, because a group was supposed to fit into a neat category to be sold. But, as Dennis said, "Look at your record collection. It has all types of music doesn't it? Why can't we play all types of music?" 


Well, yes, MY record collection has all types of music. I hope yours does, too. If not, do indeed download the greatest country song of all time, "He Stopped Loving Her Today," and try and get into some artists who have crossover appeal (the late Glen Campbell, the lively Gary Allan) as well as those who stayed pure (Hank Williams and George Jones come to mind, and I'll toss in Homer and Jethro, just fer fun). 

Funny thing; many of the rockers WE like grew up listening to hardcore C&W or hardcore R&B. It's just that they assimilated it into their rock music. Or, "stole" the black man's music and "stole" the redneck's music, as the hardcore C&W and R&B fans like to gripe. Fact is, the "pure" stuff is sometimes harder to swallow. That goes for classical, too. More often people listen to ersatz classical (movie theme music) than the real thing, or classical melodies softened into pop standards (like "Full Moon and Empty Arms" or "A Lover's Concerto" which you might recall via the opening lines, "How gentle is the rain...")

The Beatles of course loved Carl Perkins and Buck Owens, and Woody Guthrie influenced many rockers, and "rockabilly" from Elvis and Jerry Lee became its own crossover category. Elvis Costello, Keith Richards and others worked with George Jones. Johnny Cash didn't just cover "Hurt," he owned it. 

Phil Ochs, who grew up in Texas, and later was a "boy in Ohio," really was into  the music of Faron Young. A guy I know, who still tours in a well known rock band, was a friend of Phil's: "One time I told Phil that I thought he sounded like Faron Young…his phrasing. And Phil's eyes lit up. He was very happy to hear it." Phil would later perform the C&W protest song "Okie from Muskogee" by Merle Haggard at Carnegie Hall.

Faron had a 1954 #1 hit with "Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young," a song title that seemed to have been adopted as words to live (and die by) by dozens of rockers.
Willie Nelson penned Faron's most famous #1, the 1961 smash "Hello Walls." After a lot of success at Capitol,  Young switched over to Mercury in 1963 and averaged two albums a year through 1976, when the hits began to evaporate. In 1979 he moved to MCA for a pair of albums "Chapter Two" and "Free and Easy," which the label hoped would appeal to a wider audience than Faron's hardcore rockabillies. There was a new thing called "countrypolitan," and even George Jones' producer Billy Sherrill was into this, trying to reduce the squeamy violins and add more of a beat and a lot of crossover production values.


It was Sherrill who insisted that Braddock and Putman re-work their morbid tune "He Stopped Loving Her Today" into more of a Top 40 ballad, and make the story dramatic but not country-corny. Then he worked on the arrangement and production, which was so different on Epic than what George had done at Musicor and the other earlier labels. George wasn't that fond of spending a lot of time in the studio, was seriously into booze, and the song had to be pieced together over quite a while. The result is a classic. 

Curly Putman remains my favorite country songwriter, and I am very proud to say that my appreciation for his writing was matched by his appreciation for mine. I mentioned to him the time I was in a very hipster-punk record store, and who was blasting from the loudspeakers? George Jones, the guy who covered so many Putman tunes. So tattoo and metal-nose ear-stud boyo walked in and sneered, "WHAT are ya playin'?" And the dude behind the counter just glanced down and said, "Gotta love George."

While George Jones or Johnny Cash are probably the most popular of the 60's and 70's C&W artists, there are quite a few others who have stood the test of time, including Faron Young.

In 1996, grieving over the death of his daughter, and despondent over his failing health, Faron Young killed himself. While Phil had used the hangman's noose back in 1976, rough 'n' ready Faron did himself in with a revolver.

You never stop lovin' great music until you're planted six feet deep, or blowin' in the wind. 


Faron Young - listen on line or download; no moronic passwords, no links to spyware or malware-loaded porn sites

Denise LaSalle Dies, the Advice Stays: LICK IT BEFORE YOU STICK IT



You shouldn't smile when somebody dies. But...

...that hokey hooker-name Denise LaSalle instantly brought back a memory of that odd 70's time when you just might open up a demo package from a record label and find...a bawdy black lady bawlin' inside. 

I don't know quite what prompted the return to rudeness (which of course goes back to those old R&B "copulatin' blues" 78's black women made). But there was Denise (real name Denise Allen (July 16, 1939-January 8, 2018). There was, of course Donna Summer with "Bad Girls" (beep beep!) and my favorite (on the album cover alone) Millie Jackson (still with us at 73. OK, Millie, let's see that album cover: 



Huh, what? Well, politically incorrect or not, the theme seemed to be: you were not likely to get a blowjob from Olivia Newton-John or Marie Osmond, you'd have a long line ahead of you to get to Carly or Joni, but what you REALLY should be doin' is finding a BLACK MAMA who knows ALL the tricks...and is downright NASTY...

...but not so NASTY that you wouldn't want to lick it before you stick it. 

LaSalle's four decade career obviously was more about talent than the occasional risque song. Signed to Chess in the late 60'ss her single "A Love Reputation" hinted that she could build on her charisma and be a star. Her breakthrough was "Trapped By a Thing Called Love" (1971) and it sold a million copies. 

She wrote a lot of her own stuff, and though she still tended to show up on the R&B charts more than the mainstream charts, she was in the Top 10 with "Man Sized Job" and "Love Me Right," and her "Married, But Not To Each Other" was covered by Barbara Mandrell. She was sizzling between Millie Jackson and the future queen Donna Summer when "The Bitch is Bad!" came out in 1977. 

You could grab a handful of Denise in any decade. Her many albums include 70's releases  Trapped By A Thing Called Love, Doin' it Right, On The Loose, Here I Am Again, Second Breath and The Bitch Is Bad!, 80's items My Toot Toot, Rain And Fire, It's Lying Time Again and Hittin´ Where It Hurts. Funny (no, not really) it was long after Donna's "Bad Girls...BEEP BEEP" that the dopey single "My Toot Toot" became La Salle's only Top 10 UK hit.

In the 90's LaSalle released, among others, I'm Here Again ... Plus, Still Bad, and Smokin’ In Bed and more recently, Still The Queen (2002), Wanted (2004), Pay Before You Pump (2007) and 24 Hour Woman (2010). 

"Gee our old LaSalle ran great..." Those were the days. Still can be the days if you feel like it. And..."Lick it before you stick it" is still good advice. 

Lick It (not "dig it" "get it" "cheers!" "enjoy!" or other dopey blogger link words) Download or listen on line

Monday, January 29, 2018

"Hope for the best..." Mel Brooks' music man JOHN MORRIS dies at 91


"Hope for the best," the chorus sang in "The 12 Chairs," directed by Mel Brooks, "EXPECT THE WORST." 

Friends, fans and family of John Morris saw him live through his 70's and 80's. And he died last Thursday at 91. (October 18, 1926-January 25, 2018). Despite his great fame as a composer and arranger, he didn't care much for the lifestyle of a California musician; not only was he born in New Jersey, but died in New Jersey.

John Morris is mainly associated with Mel Brooks movies. John was behind "The Producers," "The 12 Chairs," "Young Frankenstein," "Blazing Saddles," "Silent Movie," "High Anxiety," "History of the World Part 1," "To Be Or Not To Be," "Spaceballs," and "Life Stinks." That's a lot of fun incidental music. He also helped in arranging and producing and sometimes co-writing the songs in those films, including the title track for "Blazing Saddles." Your download below, "Hope for The Best, Expect the Worst," was adapted from a Brahms Hungarian dance. Morris once said that when it came to composing songs, "All I have to do is think Johannes Brahms. And I know what Brahms does. I know how he wrote, and you just do what he does and you’re in business.”

One of John's favorite instrumental tracks is "Transylvanian Lullaby," which has been performed by both Pops and symphony orchestras. John, a Juilliard-trained musician, recalled Mel's instructions: "This is about the monster’s childhood. Write the most beautiful Middle European lullaby.” Morris: “So I wrote this tune, and it was perfect for violin. It’s that kind of melody.”

Aside from Mel Brooks comedies, John scored a lot of other wacko films, many starring Brooks favorites including Gene Wilder, Dom DeLuise and Marty Feldman, including "Yellowbeard," "Haunted Honeymoon," "Last Remake of Beau Geste" and "The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother." 

The soundtrack bin has John's name on "The Elephant Man" (for which he got an Oscar nomination), "Ironweed" and "Dirty Dancing." John's last work was for made-for-TV films: "Murder in a Small Town" and "The Lady in Question" (1999) and lastly, "The Blackwater Lightship" (2004). John also worked on Broadway shows and composed TV themes, ranging from Julia Child's "The French Chef" to the sitcom "Coach."

John leaves behind a wife and a daughter...his only son passed away three years ago. 

Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst (download or listen on line; no passwords, spyware or USA-hating cloud host hiding behind the Iron Curtain and screwing USA artists)

Friday, January 19, 2018

DYLAN by CHER - I THREW IT ALL AWAY


    Many think of Cher as something of a joke…a harmless half of a silly duo singing "I Got You Babe," who morphed into a disco queen with gays chortling over every new outrageous outfit and plastic surgery. In between the extremes, she had a chance to use her unique voice for some memorable songs, and succeeded.

    At first, Sonny and Cher were in the same bowl as the Lovin’ Spoonful, The Byrds, and The Beatles. The joke was that with their shaggy hairstyles and odd faces, you couldn't always tell which was the girl. Their nasal voices harmonized on what was dismissed as pop fluff that revolved around novelty production values. Like The Beatles, Sonny and Cher moved from pop songs to weightier material, but critics didn't take them seriously. "Laugh At Me," was a grumble song from Sonny. They became almost parodies of themselves with a TV variety show, and there was the eventual split. 


     Cher's solo career included an album loaded with heavy covers, and “I Threw It All Away" was among them. It wasn't a big seller. She went for more commercial material, and it brought her back into the Top 20. A catchy pop song IS an achievement, and “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” produced by the very commercial Snuff Garrett was one of those. 

    And so she went…wending her way through a Carol Burnett-type TV show, and her marriage to Allman, and her re-making of her image and her face and her costuming, and her disco tunes and her discovery of the vocoder. 


    It's a bit sad that few take late 60's and early 70's Cher rock-pop seriously, but ultimately she made the wise moves to extend her career with dance hits and Vegas dates. It's doubtful she looks back at her serious attempts at rivaling Baez or Ronstadt and really thinks..."I threw it all away." She's still out there. 


I THREW IT ALL AWAY

The "JASON KING" Theme by Laurie Johnson


For many, Peter Wyngarde = Jason King. 

Wyngarde died a few days ago, perhaps at the age of 90. He liked to cloak himself in mystery, and that included his date of birth, his real name, and his sexuality. Up until his spate of arrests ("what's up with British gay celebrities and sex in men's rooms?") he got away with his image of being too dangerous for women. 

His problem with women, he declared back in the day, "is that they fall in love with Jason King and find I am really Dracula...very sadistic. There is a sadistic streak in me, but I think women quite like it. You have got to be tough with them, really tough and then they love you for it. Treat them with any amount of charm, that’s how you start - then you throw off the frock coat and put on the bearskin. I love being the caveman. The reason I think I am sadistic is that men have a side that hates their mothers. Having so many women is a revenge against your mother."

As was typical of Wyngarde, that paragraph held truths and fantasies. The truth was sadistic gay affairs (notoriously one with Alan Bates). The fantasy, picked up by directors and producers, was that his severe knife-sharp nose, curled lip, lizard eyes and woman-hating stance did make for a figure that fascinated female viewers. The stage-trained actor didn't have much to do in "The Innocents," one of his early films, but as Peter Quint, his glare at a spinster (played by Deborah Kerr) was enough to make her wet and to chill her at the same time. 

Wyngarde would later star in "Burn Witch Burn," but seemed to prosper more in theater, and in guest roles on hip shows of the day including "The Prisoner" and "The Avengers." He appeared several times on the latter, either as a prig or a sadist. Many fans of the show will name "A Touch of Brimstone" (about "The Hellfire Club") as their favorite episode; the one in which he sought to dominate a leather-clad Emma Peel. PS, sharp-eyed Pythons might recognize Carol Cleveland, also in that episode!

Then came his starring role in "Department S" as Jason King, and the follow-up officially titled "Jason King." He insisted he was just like the show's flamboyant hero: ‘I decided Jason King was going to be an extension of me. I was not going to have a superimposed personality. I was inclined to be a bit of a dandy, used to go to the tailor with my designs. And my hair was long because I had been in this Chekhov play, The Duel, at the Duke of York’s….Jason King had champagne and strawberries for breakfast, just as I did myself. I drank myself to a standstill. When I think about it now, I am amazed I’m still here." 

In a way, it was amazing he made it out of his teens. Born (August 23-1927-January 15, 2018) to a Eurasian woman and a guy named Goldbert, the boy christened Cyril Louis Goldbert ended up living on his own in wartorn Shanghai, having some tense times waiting to get back to England. The teenager of World War 2 became a stage actor in the 50's, and a TV star in the late 60's and early 70's. He moved back to stage work with a successful revival of "The King and I" in 1973, still fascinating the ladies.

In 1975, after a few cautions the previous year by police willing to preserve his reputation, Wyngarde was arrested for "gross indecency" with a man in a Gloucester bus station men's room. The former sex symbol of espionage and decadence on screen was now aging and outed. Even so, he was such a forceful and charismatic presence, he didn't lack for work. Over the next ten years he made many films as well as stage work (notably with Raymond Burr in "Underground" (in Canada) and comedy (in a "Two Ronnies" Christmas show). 

He was semi-retired when the biography of Alan Bates appeared in 2007, exposing his long affair with the actor, and re-affirming that his mens room arrest was not a one-off gay experiment. Wyngarde retained his trademark walrus mustache into old age, and like John Huston in "Chinatown," presented himself as a dangerous-looking geezer. One of his last public appearances, in a wheelchair, was at a 50th Anniversary celebration of "The Prisoner" TV show. He was in good humor, had an evil glint in his eye, and was able to give a short speech to delighted fans. 

Yes, there's some odd spoken-word audio on Wyngarde, but below, the "Jason King" theme song by Mr. Laurie Johnson (who also composed "The Avengers" theme). No reason to be idiotic and write "Dig It" or "Get It" or "Cheers!" or "Enjoy." Downloading a song is not a big deal, is it? To pretend it is, is so uncool.

"JASON KING" theme - listen on line or download. No password crap, wait time or Russian malware